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Nuclear Open Thread

Open Thread 4

Time for a new Open Thread (the last one has more than 500 comments and is about to spool off the end of the BNC frontpage).

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the broad theme of the blog (climate change, sustainability, energy, etc.). You can also find this thread by clicking on the Open Thread category on the left sidebar.

One point of interest for possible discussion. Dr. Eric P. Loewen is Chief Consulting Engineer, Advanced Plants, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas. He was recently profiled in the excellent Esquire article “Meet the man who could end global warming“. Last week, Eric gave testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate. You can read his 8-page written testimony, Advancing Technology for Nuclear Energy, here. His presentation was followed by a Q&A session with senators, and is well worth checking out (video, with Eric’s presentation starting at 106 minutes [Steven Chu also presents, at 40 min]).

Eric has previously briefed Congress on GEH’s “Generation IV” PRISM reactor technology — a commercial blueprint for the Integral Fast Reactor.

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By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

718 replies on “Open Thread 4”

My feeling is that Ferguson is going through a fast reality check. Having thrown taxpayer bucks at ‘HDR’ geothermal for little result he is giving tentative support to ‘HSA’ geothermal. On that occasion he let slip misgivings about achieving the RET. Previously he has dismissed solar. I would like him to also consider how Australia can replace a million barrels of oil a day. Short of hamsters on treadmills I don’t know what the next big energy thing will be.

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OK John. The first para was one of congrats and the suggestion that she and the ALP will need to get clear policy positions out there for the electorate to consider. I suggested that she had made a good start with the resources rent tax review and that most urgent of all was a review of Australia’s energy policy following the postponment of the ETS. I suggested that the delay was perhaps a good thing because it would enable us to have a closer look at our energy policy I continued, “In my view and that of many others, the present policy is seriously flawed. In essence, we are allowing the coal, gas and renewables lobbies and the uneducated, misinformed, highly vocal anti-nuclear activists to dictate our national energy policy. This latter group, by trading in misinformation, half-truths and often downright lies, have successfully prevented Australia from developing the cleanest, greenest, safest most abundant and most powerful source of energy known to mankind.
You would be aware that around the world, there is a rapidly expanding nuclear power generating industry. Thirty three countries already generate 16% of the world’s electricity from 440 power reactors. A further 20 countries are building 54 reactors as I write. Some hundreds of others are being planned. All of this is happening for two reasons Julia. These 53 countries want a secure energy future without greenhouse emissions. They have wisely concluded, after ignoring the anti-nuclear zealots, that nuclear power is the only power source, apart from hydro that can deliver emissions-free base load power. Energy authorities and governments around the world are adamant that if countries are going to meet their emissions reductions targets then they “will have to have a large dose of nuclear in their energy mix” We in Australia are pinning our hopes on the totally inadequate renewables, gas[a fossil fuel] not yet commercial clean coal [CCS] and other still developing technologies. Despite having the biggest uranium reserves and the best nuclear waste disposal site,both in your and my state,SA by the way, the best we can do is to mine uranium and make yellowcake for other countries to produce clean base load power. As James Lovelock said in his 2007 visit to SA, “It doesn’t make sense that Australia hasn’t developed nuclear power.”
Julia, it is imperative that the ALP changes its out of date, illogical and somewhat hypocritical policy on nuclear power. I urge you to call a special energy convention for party delegates to get the current anti-nuclear policy overturned and to place nuclear power firmly on our future energy agenda. I’m not calling for a halt to the other developing technologies although I would reduce the subsidies to them. Half of the $652 million outlined in Wayne Swan’s budget for the renewables should be diverted to nuclear research. Neither am I calling for an end to coal mining. There are plenty of other uses to which we can put coal. I believe though that we should gradually phase out the burning of it for electricity over coming decades. I am calling for nuclear to take the place of coal for our future secure base load power supplies. Australia is being left behind by our refusal to embrace nuclear power.
I have had communication over the past few years with quite a number of pro-nuclear people in the ALP including, Paul Howes, Martin Ferguson, Bob Hawke and Tom Kenyon and Chloe Fox in our SA state parliament. Since 2005, I have addressed many professional and community groups on why Australia should go nuclear. Believe me, there are many, I would suggest a majority of people who support the introduction of nuclear power.Three years ago, I offered to address the ALP convention on the nuclear issue. I do so again now. Please lead the ALP and your government to consider the nuclear option. It is the only source of power which can reduce emissions adequately and within the time we would appear to have. The rest of the developed world is going nuclear apace and Australia should be part of that worldwide nuclear movement.
I have been an outspoken advocate of nuclear power for the past 12 years. I am taking the liberty of including two pieces I have written for the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy journal. The first one, printed March 2009 on why Australia should offer the world the best waste disposal site on the planet and the second, my vision statement for what development , based essentially on our uranium reserves I believe should occur over coming decades in SA. I know the Chairman of Business SA is a supporter of this kind of development .Julia,I would like to think that you will bring an open mind to the nuclear issue and consider seriously what I have written. Julia, our little state,SA , has the potential to be an absolute powerhouse on the world stage if we could only bring ourselves to an accptance of nuclear power for Australia,

Best wishes etc
Sincerely
Terry Krieg

In a ps I gave a few biographical details including that I had been a member and candidate for the ALP [5 times] during the Dunstan/Bannon years.

Copies of this letter went to Ferguson, Howes, Hawke, Holloway [SA govt] and Don Argus.

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